This was our second visit to Dos Cabezas WineWorks. In 2011 it was the first Arizona winery we visited on our first tour of the Sonoita wine area. Six wines were on their tasting sheet that August, all red, one a fortified dessert wine. This year we enjoyed tasting through the since-expanded tasting sheet, eleven wines in all.
In addition to Dos Cabezas WineWorks the current tasting sheet included wines with the Cimarron Vineyards label. Cimarron Vineyards is located in Willcox. The vineyard was originally planted by Dick Erath, and was purchased by Todd and Kelly Bostock of Dos Cabezas two years ago. The Cimarron wines are a collaboration between Todd and Dick.
The tasting room was staffed by Karen and JR on the day we visited. Karen started us off with the Pink, then moved us along to the reds, explaining the blends and wood treatment for each wine. The Cimarron Vineyard in Willcox provides the majority of the fruit for the wines at Dos Cabezas, with the balance coming from their Pronghorn Vineyard in Sonoita.
One of our current favorites among the Dos Cabezas wines is their Garnacha and Monastrell Rosé, which they very bravely call Pink. We first tasted it last year with lunch at Baratin Cafe (now part of FnB) in Scottsdale. The 2012 Dos Cabezas Pink ($18) did not disappoint. Once again, this dry rosé has scents and flavors of berries, crisp acidity and just a hint of tannins. It is a lovely summer wine, plenty of flavor. It sips nicely by itself and can hold its own with food.
The label design for the Pink comes from a painting by Leonard Bianco (father of Chris Bianco, owner of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix). Todd is apparently a serious fan of Rosé. He even used it to make a toast at his own wedding party. It makes an elegant and understated label. Love it.
Todd, according to JR, is the only southern Arizona winemaker currently using a cement egg fermenter. He proudly showed us a picture on his phone. “The green monster”, he said with a chuckle. Todd uses it in the production of the Rosé. A smaller cement fermenter is used for his Meskeoli, a white blend.
JR comes down to the tasting room from Tucson on occasion. I get the feeling he does just about whatever needs doing. He was sweeping the front porch when we arrived. He was full of information about the winery and about what’s going on in Tucson (for instance, Pizzeria Bianco will be opening a second location in downtown Tucson this fall). He has a quiet manner, but if you listen, you will learn a lot from him.
Several other wines stood out to us. 2009 Dos Cabezas El Campo $40. The interesting story here is the co-fermentation, not to mention the blend. From their tasting sheet, “El Campo is a co-fermented blend of all of the grapes we hand-harvested from our Pronghorn Vineyard in Sonoita. Mostly Mourvedre & Tempranillo with smaller amounts of Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Anglianico & Roussanne.” Add aging in new French oak and you have a complex, richly flavored wine with great tannins. Very interesting flavors — in a good way.
JR very generously pulled a bottle of 2011 Dos Cabezas La Montaña from his personal stock. This limited-release is 100% Syrah from the Cimarron Vineyard. Dark fruit flavors and earthy complexity with just a touch of vanilla. It’s just a baby, should be amazing with age. Look for it to be released in October.
“So what do you think about wine in kegs?”, JR asked. Once again going to pictures on his phone, he explained Dos Cabezas is providing wine to restaurants in kegs. He said the demand is growing, especially for the Dos Cabezas Pink.
The association of food and wine is natural. As we have noted in the past, Pavle Milic, owner of the restaurant FnB in Scottsdale is a huge fan of Arizona wines. His current wine list is 100% Arizona. I guess it is not surprising that Pavle would be interested in making his own wine. He worked with Todd to produce his first, 2012 Los Milics Hannah’s Blend. The Monastrell, Tempranillo, Primitivo is all sourced from Cimarron Vineyard. We tasted it at the restaurant, it’s delicious.
Thank you to JR and Karen both.